Lara's Damsel in Distress

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I wouldn't call it a great article when parts of the plot have been blatantly ignored, and I frankly expect better from Shamus.

Madmonk12345:

If they are going to make Sam weak and useless, I expect them to do it consciously, and use it to examine why it is done in the first place.

There is no reason to expect that. She is gentle 'weak' girl who can't handle the situation. Her function may be boring but there isn't anything inherently wrong with it. Most real people don't actually act any different at gunpoint. The story is about Lara's journey.

Shamus Young:

I said exactly this in the article.

I thought you put most of the emphasis on her resisting in whichever way she can. Which is what I mean by "being useful in fight", sorry if it wasn't clear. She didn't need to be like the rest of the crew. Why would they all be the same anyway. Someone has to be the sheep, forgive the bluntness. And that's ok.

I honestly didn't really mind Same being so trope-y because the whole support cast is one trope or another.
You have the steeled mentor who has to die off to push the main character off the edge into vengeance mode.
Then there's the traditional pacific islander who has to be the voice of the mystical juju that's happening.
Then there's the professor who is basically twirling his big evil mustache who has a giant blinking red sign that says "I'm totally going to betray you"
And finally the strong black female who isn't going to take shit from anyone because shes a real woman and she's going to tell it to your face.

Trishbot:
Also, on topic and to counter Shamus, I'll admit I wasn't a big fan of Sam in the game... but I didn't dislike her either. The article cherry picks the worst moments with Sam while entirely ignoring the GOOD moments.

I'd say that, for starters, both times Sam is kidnapped it's by people she trusts (she hadn't yet realized the island had cultists when she meets Matthias, and nobody thought Whitman was THAT crazy that he'd kidnap her later on), and she likely was muzzled or knocked out when it happened.

Secondly, Sam WAS shown to be resourceful. She states outright she stole a radio off the guard, attempted to contact someone, anyone, with it to let them know what was going on and how to find her, and then, when Lara saves her for the first time, she has a gun and USES it, killing several armed islanders herself and FIGHTING her way to freedom with the rest of her crew.

Also, she, herself, while being Lara's close friend, has MANY journals and narrations talking about her love for history, film, and her connection to Himiko. She DOES have a life outside of Lara, but Lara's the one with the instinct, talent, and drive to get stuff done, and it's unfair to ignore the many thing she doesn't say about Lara while ignoring the many things the OTHERS say about her, because they all DO have an opinion of Lara, some of them quite negative.

And the finale, of "battered" Lara carrying "fit" Sam back down... Sam just had her very SOUL sucked out of her body, her very life and being nearly destroyed, her body consumed whole and everything that makes her a living person stamped out. I don't think it's that unreasonable to assume she's more half-dead after that than Lara was.

I don't think Sam is the best character in the game, by any means, but she's FAR from as useless and docile as the article makes her sound. In two playthroughs, I very clearly see her struggling, I see her fighting, I see her killing, I see her being resourceful, I see her grabbing guns, acting at times reckless, defiantly standing up to the villains, and fleeing for her life. I also see her being petrified with fear, I see her being freaked out and confused, I see her being weak and human... and, ultimately, she is NOT as capable, or brave, or strong, or smart, or resourceful as Lara is.

Even then, if Sam, who isn't THAT bad of a character (even if she serves as the plot mcguffin), is the worst element of Tomb Raider, I think the game did very well, all things considered. It's simply that characters like Lara, Jonah, Roth, and the others were just more interesting, active, and charismatic.

This needs to be addressed more, or at least taken note of.

Unless you needed everything to be spelled out for you in cutscenes, Sam wasn't the horrible damsel Shamus paints her to be.

Maybe a tutorial session on the boat before the crash where we're introduced to all the characters may have been nice to help clear the crap a bit.

Trishbot:

OtherSideofSky:
Man, the last time I saw a Tomb Raider game it was about using glowing green alien Excalibur to fight an angry goth chick and her smoke monsters while a large supporting cast of people Lara knows and the player doesn't appear and disappear seemingly at random. What happened? I mean, at least that ended up being funny.

[I'm not counting 'Guardian of Light' because its plot was 'Hey remember that Tezcatlipoca story line from Spriggan? This is that'.]

In this game, it was about using flaming napalm arrows to fight an angry undead Japanese Empress and her zombie samurais while a large supporting cast of people Lara knows and the player just met appear and disappear at random.

I still don't know why some people feel that "out there" element of Tomb Raider is missing. Right around the time the vortex of souls was destroying the mountain while a 20 foot tall Oni is swinging a 500 lbs mace at my face while a zombie queen is merging her soul into the body of my best friend I thought "yeah, this is definitely Tomb Raider-levels of crazy. Awesome."

I'm not saying the crazy sci-fi/fantasy element is missing, just that there are now a lot of other things in addition to it which the developers clearly thought were more compelling than I found them to be. I'm not saying it's bad, or even that it's worse than previous Tomb Raider games, just that I feel there are ways, sometimes fairly obvious ways, in which it could have been better. To put it another way, I did not spend nearly as much time laughing at the plot as I had hoped to.

Also, the plot reminds me that I cannot afford to import the remaining volumes of Yamataika, and that makes me sad.

Madmonk12345:

m19:

So it's now a requirement for every female character to be strong, skilled, and determined?

Nope.

Sam is expected to act like a real person would act.

in order to meet such demands, she needs to either be more strong, skilled or determined in some form, or she needs to change in age or maturity to match her current actions in game.

But the question remains - why?

You're acting like there is only a narrow range of characters which exist in the real world. Let's not forget that the bulk of the characters in Tomb Raider are mindless cultists who only have one thing on their minds which is to kill an innocent girl, for no particular reason. If people like that can exist in this world, then people like Sam can.

There were many things I didn't like about TR 2013, but Sam wasn't one of them.

I didn't like the dissonance between the player and Lara caused by the collectibles that explained the narrative instead of the setting and lore; which basically let me figure out the entire story before even climbing the radio tower.

I didn't like the over use of qtes that when failed led directly to a death sequence. Is Shenmue the only game that ever did qtes properly?

I didn't like the cutscenes where Lara did something exceedingly stupid for the purpose of continuing the plot. Example being when Lara was about to ambush the cultist during the sacrifice ritual instead of pulling out the nice 30 round per magazine assault rifle she had, she switches to the bow and arrow because killing one guy is going to stop the other 30 from burning her friend alive.

I didn't like the fact we never see the giant Oni golems that we see when Lara finds Himiko's original burial chamber. Those giant invincible guardians appear several times in that section of the game and then are never seen again. And we know they're invincible because cultist shoot them and the golems don't die. Instead they are replaced at the end of the game with zombie storm guard soldiers, which was lame.

So Sam being captured by 100+ cultist all of whom seem to be men by the way (which is weird); being cooperative with her captors implicitly in order to avoid pain because them needing her alive isn't the same as needing her alive and well, is one of the few things that actually made sense in the game.

I guess the devs could have shown more about her time in captivity and shown her being threatened with violence but then in this current environment where a small brush against Lara's oblique while she's tied up gets called a rape scene who wants to put that into their game?

Dude, Shamus, I love your work, really I do. But you must have forgotten that the bad guy with the spear also had a gun with him at all times. Remember the handgun he pulls on Lara in the last fight? I wouldn't be surprised if he brandished it at Sam (admittedly, off screen) to keep her in line.

Having a gun pointed at you is a scary thing and trying to run would undoubtedly have ended up with a bullet in her leg in the least. That's a scary situation, one that I'd tread lightly in too. I mean Christ, he attempted to burn her at the stake. As if you wouldn't be scared out of your balls if that happened to you.

JediMB:

Trishbot:
~snip~

I don't think Sam is the best character in the game, by any means, but she's FAR from as useless and docile as the article makes her sound. In two playthroughs, I very clearly see her struggling, I see her fighting, I see her killing, I see her being resourceful, I see her grabbing guns, acting at times reckless, defiantly standing up to the villains, and fleeing for her life. I also see her being petrified with fear, I see her being freaked out and confused, I see her being weak and human... and, ultimately, she is NOT as capable, or brave, or strong, or smart, or resourceful as Lara is.

*claps*

Thank you for filling in the blanks Shamus so conveniently left in his retelling of the story. My personal strongest memory of Sam was when she was running from the cultists during the escape from the castle, as she did her best to hold them off with her gun. Her actions weren't any less impressive than those of Jonah, Alex or Reyes, who at least had each other to rely on for backup. Not everyone can be Roth, Angus or Lara.

My best memory of sam is how she was the first to back her friend up. I liked her she was the positive and more sociable friend between the two. lara was the one you had to drag to the club. I imagine talking to a guy at a bar would make lara feel out of her element like sam does in a survival situation. And I dont think it was lazy writing at all she was quite character if you ask me.

VanQ:
Dude, Shamus, I love your work, really I do. But you must have forgotten that the bad guy with the spear also had a gun with him at all times. Remember the handgun he pulls on Lara in the last fight? I wouldn't be surprised if he brandished it at Sam (admittedly, off screen) to keep her in line.

Having a gun pointed at you is a scary thing and trying to run would undoubtedly have ended up with a bullet in her leg in the least. That's a scary situation, one that I'd tread lightly in too. I mean Christ, he attempted to burn her at the stake. As if you wouldn't be scared out of your balls if that happened to you.

As a man ive been paralyzed in far easier situations than that. I once saw a man choke a female friend of mine. I remember her legs kicking for life like she could somehow dig her way through the floor and find safety. I stood there and was so paralyzed I couldnt move. just watch as he squeazed on her neck denying her of air. logically his back was turned to me i had every opportunity to pull him off, gouge his eyes out, punch his ribs, I could go on. I imagine that if that scene were to play out in a videogame and the person standing scared shitless like i did that day was a woman than that character would be picked apart like a crow picks apart its meal.

I suppose when you are ignorant of such situations and what its like to be in them its easy to point and to criticise.

When you put it that way, she sounds bad. I thought she was a sweet kid myself, a little submissive and naive, but a sweet one and she cares about her friends, especially Lara, even Whitman.

So the new Tomb Raider is 50% I Spit on Your Grave & 50% escort mission?

She sounds irredeemably annoying. Is she so essential that the game will end if you just let her die?

While I didn't mind the gameplay, I found other parts of the game frustrating.

The QTEs were awfully implemented and generally took me several attempts to get past. The game felt like 'Farcry 3 now with corridors' as I felt I was getting funnelled through the game.

And the thing that got to me the most, was whenever I saw Lara climb over a cliff edge, it was like the graphics and lighting people tried to figure out how best to show off her ass. I didn't notice it the first time she climbed up, but I did notice that each time she climbed another lip it struck me as odd then annoying.

I wanted to play a game with a character which had character growth, and Lara was kind of growing as a character, but some of the moronic decisions she made were frustrating. It was a good game, but I felt the story could've been a lot better. And I did find the fact that she never put a better top on. The strings on her top had survived her getting shot at, being stuck in freezing water, climbing and sliding far too well. If she put a damn jacket on, I would've enjoyed the game much more. It felt like pandering to the 'male eye' and it pisses me off that we can't have a strong attractive female character without her clothing being bought from 'Fanservice 4 u'

I also have to defend the notion that realistically freezing up under violent situations is very common and understandable. Its easy to deal with violence when the escalation is something you have a part in, but when your not a part of the escalation and the level's of violence just jumps from 0 to 10 with no input from you, it is disorienting. Especially if you dont have alot of experience with those types of situations.

I remember the first time someone put a gun in my face it was in the parking lot of a concert venue. I was actually on my way to the venue and as i was crossing the street when some mexican guy started yelling at me from the drivers side window of his car. As a frequent pedestrian (and a goth) im rather used to random people in cars yelling stuff at me and i just ignored him. As i entered the parking lot of the venue he had u-turned and pulled into the parking lot and got out and came walked up to me.

I was used to rough area's and dealing with the gangbanger types. I was honestly surprised he had the courage to actually aproach me without 10 homies behind him. Unforunately he took out the source of his courage and procedded to wave it around. The disorienting thing was he was clearly on something and was rambling. He was going back and forth between threatening me and complimenting me. I couldnt figure out what he was trying to do. And he was doing alot of hand gestures using the gun for pointing at me alot. I was only 6 ft away so its not likely he would have missed had he fired.

For a moment i was debating with myself over what i should do. I considered placating him in whatever way i could and for a second i even considered begging to be let go. But then i just accepted that if he wanted me dead, i had little choice in the matter. And then i thought about how i wanted to be remembered if i was to die that night. If i would have begged for my life or to be let go, it would have destroyed who i was before he even pulled the trigger. My life was in his hands but i wasnt going to hand over my dignity too.

I decided to just keep talking to him as though the gun wasnt there. Not saying anything to provoke him and just being cordial(i was still trying to figure out if he hated or liked me). Fortunately i had friends who were in the parking lot and they saw me at the edge of the lot and went to see what was going on. Before too long he noticed that he was getting quickly outnumbered and got back in his car and left. It seems the only reason my friends didnt jump him to get the gun out of his hand was because they thought i was just having a matter of fact conversation with the guy and i didnt act enough like anything was wrong so i guess i even fooled my friends.

But inside i was nervous as all hell. I cant blame anyone for how having a gun in there face may make them react. Its always near impossible to know what the right responce is. Alot of people may try to pretend to get all Batman about it, but that's BS.

Useless pitiful characters there only to be saved are annoying in general. However people can be like that and sam just did not as well characterized as anybody else really.

the December King:
It almost sounds to me like Sam represents us more than Lara, like this is how most people would 'realisticly' end up behaving in similar situations, instead of like Kratos the Archaeologist?

My thoughts exactly. How realistic is it to assume that out of a group of random people, every single one would act rationally and competently when put in a situation like that?

Shamus Young:
No, that's how they could fix Samantha to bring her in line with the other NPC's without making a whole new game.

Different people are different. Why would we expect, or even want, all NPCs to be "in line" with each other? As tvtropes goes to great lengths to point out, tropes are not inherently bad. The damsel in distress can be used badly, usually because of the rather sexist appearance of having a useless girl be rescued by a competent man. But there's obviously nothing sexist about one girl being rescued by another, so what's so bad about having one person out of a group of eight be less useful than the rest? There are, sadly, huge numbers of very real examples of people meekly submitting to their captors and allowing themselves to be executed without a struggle, so it's not like you can complain about lack of realism here.

What this article seems to come down to is not that there's actually anything wrong with the character, but simply that you don't think her actions were particularly helpful. That's really not something that deserves an entire article to complain about.

Extremely well written article shamus as always

The entire time I was playing new-raider I couldn't help but feel that Sam was such a "typical damsel" and Lara was so dominant within her mind set that the entire "there lesbians" thing was destined to happen.

I'm glad its didn't as if they had gone there they would have been basically degenerating the new Lara into an inverted male figure, I'm very glad they kept it a friendship situation as it really does make new lara so much more empowered.

I also felt that by robbing sam of any form of self-sufficiency that her over reliance on lara really did mean lara was portrayed as a mucho alpha women as opposed to the survivor she's meant to be because her closest friend and our main comparative point for a women in the game outside of lara is such an absolute wuss, especially when as far as we can tell they both have comparable back grounds/skill sets as far as education and training goes (same schools, same teachers etc).

By making Sam a stronger character in general (show her struggle, show her get defeated etc) we would have comparatives of the difference between a normal person and "the hero" Lara obviously is when she defeats the same threat Sam failed to conquer.

Lara would have also then been doing the insane life threatening stuff she does as a sign of equilateral respect for someone who would have done the same for her in a reverse situation and that's what true respect/friendship is, kind of how they paint the rosh/lara relationship in the game.

They also could have gone the other direction and had sam as a really strong character who WANTED to becomes the storm queen and set her up as a secret antagonist (with her meek idiocy actually being a covering mechanic for her true plans), which is what I thought they might have done for the first third the game before it became obvious they weren't going to and that dynamic of 2x strong females both set on the same thing from a different perspective would have been awesome (Lara defeating the ancient evil and sam becoming it).

But then shamus covered all this perfectly in his article and he's a professional word smith/video gaming boffin so I don't really have anything to add to the conversation :P

Kahani:

the December King:
It almost sounds to me like Sam represents us more than Lara, like this is how most people would 'realisticly' end up behaving in similar situations, instead of like Kratos the Archaeologist?

My thoughts exactly. How realistic is it to assume that out of a group of random people, every single one would act rationally and competently when put in a situation like that?

Shamus Young:
No, that's how they could fix Samantha to bring her in line with the other NPC's without making a whole new game.

Different people are different. Why would we expect, or even want, all NPCs to be "in line" with each other? As tvtropes goes to great lengths to point out, tropes are not inherently bad. The damsel in distress can be used badly, usually because of the rather sexist appearance of having a useless girl be rescued by a competent man. But there's obviously nothing sexist about one girl being rescued by another, so what's so bad about having one person out of a group of eight be less useful than the rest? There are, sadly, huge numbers of very real examples of people meekly submitting to their captors and allowing themselves to be executed without a struggle, so it's not like you can complain about lack of realism here.

What this article seems to come down to is not that there's actually anything wrong with the character, but simply that you don't think her actions were particularly helpful. That's really not something that deserves an entire article to complain about.

I started writing something similar to this yesterday, but decided against it. I am glad somebody else feels the same, and has managed to do a better job expressing it than I would have.

I can understand the annoyance Shamus has in regards to her lack of decent dialogue and so on, but all of the points that you made pretty much say what I feel in regards to the criticisms of her behaviour.

Not everybody is strong, brave and capable. If anything, it shows a good contrast between the two characters. Sam's reaction to danger is to freeze up and go passive, Lara's is to fight and survive.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OlderThanFeudalism

Look under D-I. If anyone is under the impression that there's a way to get rid of a trope that's been around for more than two and a half thousand years through articles and youtube videos then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'm willing to sell for cheap.

In a film, TV show, or other non-interactive story, the audience doesn't need to have any empathy with the distressed damsel, as long as they understand that character is important to the hero. You don't have to like Kim (and most people don't), you just have to empathize with the fact Jack Bauer will move heaven and earth to save his daughter.

Video game writers make the mistake that they can get away with the same tropes as films do. They can't. With a video game, you're expected to identify as the main character on at least a basic level, because you're the one who puts them through their paces. Thus it's important to establish reasons why the main character should give a shit.

Lex Darko:
So Sam being captured by 100+ cultist all of whom seem to be men by the way (which is weird)

The reasons the Solarii are all men are explained in some of the documents you find. But they never explain how the Stormguard samurai have been living in that mountain castle serving Himiko for centuries when they seem to have no women, children, or organized agriculture. Can you really sustain a disciplined, martial society without significant infrastructure for food production? Most pre-industrial societies needed at least 90% of the population devoted to food production just to be sustainable.

Hellfireboy:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OlderThanFeudalism

Look under D-I. If anyone is under the impression that there's a way to get rid of a trope that's been around for more than two and a half thousand years through articles and youtube videos then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'm willing to sell for cheap.

Really? Until 150 years ago, almost every work of fiction was written with a third-person omniscient narrator. Now try and find a novel written in the past 20 years that actually uses that POV. They're all first-person or third-person limited, or even second-person.

Also, Shamus isn't saying we can't have damsels in distress, just that telling the audience a character is important to the plot or main character while basically treating them like a piece of furniture doesn't work any more--we need to understand why the main character gives a shit.

Falseprophet:
Really? Until 150 years ago, almost every work of fiction was written with a third-person omniscient narrator. Now try and find a novel written in the past 20 years that actually uses that POV. They're all first-person or third-person limited, or even second-person.

Also, Shamus isn't saying we can't have damsels in distress, just that telling the audience a character is important to the plot or main character while basically treating them like a piece of furniture doesn't work any more--we need to understand why the main character gives a shit.

Spot on no ones saying that there's anything wrong with the trope but sam is such a weak poorly defined character that i felt no reason to want to save here and I know shes laras best friend but at what point would you stop and ask yourself "WTF am i risking my ass to save a friend who hasn't even ATTEMPTED to save herself", which is why i think they should have had lara more focused on stopping "the storm queen" and had sam WANT to be it.

Falseprophet:
The reasons the Solarii are all men are explained in some of the documents you find. But they never explain how the Stormguard samurai have been living in that mountain castle serving Himiko for centuries when they seem to have no women, children, or organized agriculture. Can you really sustain a disciplined, martial society without significant infrastructure for food production? Most pre-industrial societies needed at least 90% of the population devoted to food production just to be sustainable.

I presumed they where some type of undead and thusly wouldn't need food/water etc but your right they never explain why the storm guard are still "alive" and simply leave us to accept that "its magic".

Kael Arawn:

Falseprophet:
Really? Until 150 years ago, almost every work of fiction was written with a third-person omniscient narrator. Now try and find a novel written in the past 20 years that actually uses that POV. They're all first-person or third-person limited, or even second-person.

Also, Shamus isn't saying we can't have damsels in distress, just that telling the audience a character is important to the plot or main character while basically treating them like a piece of furniture doesn't work any more--we need to understand why the main character gives a shit.

Spot on no ones saying that there's anything wrong with the trope but sam is such a weak poorly defined character that i felt no reason to want to save here and I know shes laras best friend but at what point would you stop and ask yourself "WTF am i risking my ass to save a friend who hasn't even ATTEMPTED to save herself", which is why i think they should have had lara more focused on stopping "the storm queen" and had sam WANT to be it.

I had no problem understanding why Lara would risk herself for Sam. Other than being her best friend and someone she knew throughout college (which was more than enough for me), it was clear that Roth and Sam were the only people in the group that Lara really opened up to. When she had her doubts, she talked to them. You're much more attached to the people you feel you can be yourself with. Especially with people who would do no less for you. When Reyes said they would leave Lara behind, Sam said she wouldn't. And Sam did attempt to save herself when she took that radio off a guard and tried calling for help. That was very brave.

Well stated jcfrommars9 but i personally just didn't connect with sam as a character i understand shes lara's best friend YADDA YADDA YADDA but I regularly tell my friends to "solve shit themselves" when they have issues if i think its within there power and I just feel that without sam wanting to be the storm queen that just wasn't ANY excuse for her to be so trusting of the cult that worships her ancestor so early in the game :P

Then that's just how I felt and i tend to agree with Shamus that there's nothing wrong with fleshing a obvious trope character our some more especially when it could have been so easy to do within the narrative they provided.

Still i highly enjoyed the game and it would have been one of the best games I have played in quite some time if i hadn't played uncharted 1/2/3 before hand :)

I also look forward to there being a sequel and i hope its not simply "New-Raider 2, The Rebreastening".

Quick disclaimer, not had the time to get to New Raider, though was very fond of the originals.

What it sounds like the issue with Sam is character-craft. And hardly one that's isolated to her. It's all in the emotional distances. Having read some of the other comments Sam has a long history with Lara, they went to college together and all the social and personal interactions that entails; friendship, trust, confidence etc. through shared experience. She's also poor with physicality and confrontation and evidently idolizes Lara for her more assertive adventuresome traits. (Just what I've gotten from the thread.) Great, cool, nice exposition. Intellectually, got it, friend, bestie, my main girl, whatever.

And here in lies the problem. Intimate relationships of any kind, while have intellectual components, are largely emotional and built on shared experience. No amount exposition on the planet can make up for even thirty seconds of experience. We need to be close to her, to feel for her, to motivate us by friendship. This is as true in real life interactions as it is in games.

Scenario: You've read a dossier on person X, say Jane. Shares interests, hobbies, beliefs with you, its very thorough and detailed. Someone you could befriend easily. You meet her in the street, begin to talk. A few minutes in she says she needs to go to the bathroom, then catastrophe Y happens and you witness her being taken off, captured, enslaved etc. You know here as a person, you know you *could* become friends, but because there is such a lack of shared anything you haven't invested any emotional capital. Sure, whatever foul fate awaits Jane is terrible, but the odds that you'll be motivated enough to risk your hide to save her are slim to none. You just don't care enough. She's effectively a stranger.

What makes this instance worse is that the only experience we as the player has of Sam is (quoting the thread) a sniveling whining coward who lacks any sort of agency, making her an object. Which I'm not against as a character at all. Most people just aren't cut out for trauma or violence and would respond similarly. What seems to be lacking is the context of this trauma that's broken Sam's spirit making her a mewling malleable lamb and the context of my Lara gives two farts about her.

Experience, context.

Awkwardly, very well stated. Wish i had more to add but saying i liked you post, but I don't and i liked your post so im saying that :P

(Mods please dont give me a "mark" for not saying enough in this post).

AwKwardly:
And here in lies the problem. Intimate relationships of any kind, while have intellectual components, are largely emotional and built on shared experience. No amount exposition on the planet can make up for even thirty seconds of experience. We need to be close to her, to feel for her, to motivate us by friendship. This is as true in real life interactions as it is in games.

This is a good point. Sam may well be a failure of the "show, don't tell" rule of story telling. Essentially she's a designated friend (similar to the designatd love interest) where the player is told she's your best friend that you want to rescue, but the game itself never actually does anything to actually invoke that.

However, that's not, as far as I can see, the point that Seamus was making. All he did was complain that she wasn't much use. But as I said above, her not being any use is not inherently a problem. If the player really feels that she's someone they want to be rescuing, it doesn't matter at all that she's the sort of useless person who ends up needing to be rescued. It only becomes an issue if the player doesn't actually care about her, at which point you may as well just replace her by saying the cultists have stolen your favourite hat - if you don't care about it, it doesn't matter what the macguffin is as long as it sends you in the right direction. Making her more competent as a character wouldn't do anything to change that. As long as the player doesn't care about her, it doesn't make any difference if she's a hardcore action girl who keeps getting captured anyway, a useless damsel in distress, or a hat. The important part is to get the player to care about her enough in the first place, so that they want to rescue her regardless of how useless or hat-like she may be. And that's not really something Seamus touched on at all.

Edit: He does complain that she's a boring character, but that's not really the same as the point I'm trying to make. It doesn't matter how boring she might be throughout most of the game as long as it's established early on that she's a boring friend that the player has a reason to want to rescue. It's not her quality as a character that's important, but the connection to the player.

Is it wrong that I wish she would die just so I wouldn't have to worry about here useless ass?

Why is she even in the game? Expeditions have to be carefully planned, you have the logistics of food rationing, cargo limits and all that, so why would they let someone so perpetually useless on such a trip?

River Styx was my word puzzle for this post, amusing that a trip across the actual river Styx would be less harrowing.

008Zulu:

Why is she even in the game? Expeditions have to be carefully planned, you have the logistics of food rationing, cargo limits and all that, so why would they let someone so perpetually useless on such a trip?

It doesn't explain in the game, but in the comic Sam asked her uncle to pay for the expedition after the network sponsoring Whitman cut the contract. They lost their camera man too so she came along instead.

Sack of Cheese:
It doesn't explain in the game, but in the comic Sam asked her uncle to pay for the expedition after the network sponsoring Whitman cut the contract. They lost their camera man too so she came along instead.

Does she at least know how to use a camera?

008Zulu:

Sack of Cheese:
It doesn't explain in the game, but in the comic Sam asked her uncle to pay for the expedition after the network sponsoring Whitman cut the contract. They lost their camera man too so she came along instead.

Does she at least know how to use a camera?

Lara said she's a camera freak, and there's this:
image

The others had training and can handle themselves in the comic, while Sam didn't intend to go at first.

Sack of Cheese:

Lara said she's a camera freak, and there's this:

The others had training and can handle themselves in the comic, while Sam didn't intend to go at first.

Hold on a second there, it says she has been in the Arctic (Polar Bears), Congo (monkeys with Ebola plus half a dozen or so mercenary armies wandering around) and The Red Desert (The Australia Outback, nuff said). Some of the hazardous and treacherous locals on the planet and she can't seem to run away or wander off from her own sacrifice with a single man with a spear guarding her?

She must have taken a severe blow to the head in order to forget all that.

008Zulu:

Hold on a second there, it says she has been in the Arctic (Polar Bears), Congo (monkeys with Ebola plus half a dozen or so mercenary armies wandering around) and The Red Desert (The Australia Outback, nuff said). Some of the hazardous and treacherous locals on the planet and she can't seem to run away or wander off from her own sacrifice with a single man with a spear guarding her?

She must have taken a severe blow to the head in order to forget all that.

Maybe she films it on the helicopter?! (And Australia is not that life-threatening!!)

Oww... leave the poor girl alone. Let's pick on Alex instead!! It's gonna be so much fun, I promise!! :)

This is by far one of the most ill informed artciles on the Escapist, which is sad sicne your articles about EA are accurate.

" Her hands are tied, but there's nothing stopping her from just standing up and walking her dumb ass away from this crazy altar where an ancient spirit is about to steal her body. Sure, the bad guy is there with his goofy spear, but if Sam had a brain in her head she ought to have figured out that the bad guy needs her alive for the ceremony, so he's probably not going to run her through. "

Are you crazy? Did you even play the game? While her soul was being transferred, she WAS IMMOBILIZED. The host can't just run away'.She was trying to move even, which is why she was screaming all the time. I can't even comment on how you even think that she could have just walked away from the altar. Please, watch the final act on youtube or something. Or moreover actually play the game. Don't try and insult a character when you selectively pick your tidbits. "Having a soul transferred into your body? Just get up and walk away dumbo!!!!" Really, shamus?

And as for your needs her alive theory, they only get what on earth is happening when they actually try the fire ritual for the first time. That is more than halfway of the game, and she is fucking terrified. They tried to burn her at the stake? If you expect her to try anything smart when She & Lara have seen SO many other people on the ship shot in cold blood (around that supposed rape scena and ALL THROUGHOUT THE FREAKING GAME), you have no idea how real world things work.

Your question isn't "Why is Sam such a useless character". Your question is "Why isn't she even a fraction of bad ass as Lara is?" Don't mix those two. There are people, when under a gun will do anything. They can't even talk, can't even breathe well, can't even think straight. they become puddles, literally. Then there are people who will try to play the hero. Lara is the latter, Sam is the former. natural instincts. Are any of those groups useless? No. In real life, it is a huge risk to even try to run away from a bad situation - when life is in the stake, you'd have to have a death wish to try and make things worse for yourself.

Seriously, such a pointless article, and your title of 'damsel in distress' (which has now been infamous thanks to Women Vs Tropes) will possible make people re consider looking into what is otherwise a FANTASTIC game.

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